Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 10/17/21 — 10/23/21


Here’s a few thoughts on what I watched this week!

(How’s that for a detailed intro?)

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week, yet another attempt to smuggle the British airmen out of France failed.  As usual, the plan was too complicated to succeed and the British airmen themselves remained cheerfully oblivious to the danger that they’re putting everyone else into.  (“I say,” one of them said after missing his chance to get smuggled out on a fish truck, “When’s the next fish truck?”)  This episode’s highlight was Crabtree getting to speak perfect English to all of the British airmen who had gathered in Rene’s Cafe before then switching back to his usual mangled French to speak with Rene.  Episodes of Allo Allo are not particularly easy to describe but they almost always make me laugh.

The Bachelorette (Tuesday Night, ABC)

I don’t know.  Going straight from one season of the Bachelorette to Bachelor in Paradise to another season of the Bachelorette is a little bit too much.  It works better when there’s some downtime between the seasons.  I have to admit that I was pretty bored with the premiere of the new season.  I mean, the first episode wasn’t even over and already, I was having to listen to all of that crap about whether or not the men were there for “the right reasons.”  The whole thing with Ryan getting kicked off the show felt very staged and pre-planned and Michelle seems like she’ll be canceling a lot of cocktail parties to get right to kicking people off the show.  I think I’ve just been oversturated with this dumb show for the past few months.

Baywatch (Friday Afternoon, H&I)

H&I has changed up their schedule.  Instead of daily showing of Baywatch, they now air a five-hour block on Fridays.  I watched two episodes.  They were both from the 2nd season and I remembered them both from when I binged the show a few months ago.  The first episode featured Eddie trying to clear his name after being accused of assaulting a teenager.  The 2nd was yet another episode where a mysterious woman stayed with Mitch while someone with a gun hunted for her.  This seemed to happen quite frequently to Mitch but he never commented on either the strangeness or the familiarity of it all.

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

I watched three episodes on Sunday while working on my Cry Macho review.  The Brady kids were so self-centered that Alice quit.  Greg conspired to make Marcia the head cheerleader.  Marcia fell in love with a much older dentist and decided she was too mature to go on a date with a classmate.  The Bradys were the worst.

Court Cam (Wednesday Evening, A&E)

I watched two episodes when I got home from work on Wednesday.  One episode featured a loser who was arrested several times for pretending to be a traffic cop.  Maybe he wanted to get on Parking Wars.  Regardless of his motivation, everyone he stopped could tell he wasn’t a cop and no one treated him with the respect that he very loudly demanded.  That was kind of fun to watch.

Day of the Dead (Friday Night, SyFy)

I finally watched last week’s premiere on Thursday and I reviewed it for the site.

Fear the Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I reviewed the season premiere here!

Friday the 13th: The Series (YouTube)

Once Horrorthon is over and I have the time, I’m going to go back and binge this entire series.

Hunter (Weekday Mornings, ZLiving)

 I watched two episodes of this surprisingly violent 80s cop show on Friday.  I was also working at the time so the show mostly served as background noise.  (I find having the TV on helps me to focus, oddly enough.)  From what I did see, it seemed like an awful lot of people ended up getting shot. In fact, Hunter’s main personality trait appears to be that he’ll shoot anyone.  (The second episode featured Hunter blowing away a psycho motorcyclist played by Don Swayze.)  One thing I will say about the show, though, is that I love the propulsive music that plays over the opening credits.

King of the Hill (Weekday Afternoons, FXX)

I watched two episodes of Tuesday.  In the first one, Bobby became a peer counselor and quickly started to abuse his position.  This is actually one of my favorite episodes, even though Bobby definitely owed Stacy an apology.  The highlight of the episode was Stacy singing, “I’m your Stacy in a bottle.”  The second episode featured Hank visiting the Platter Ranch in Montana and discovering that Henry Winkler was refusing to allow the ranchers to herd their cattle across his land.  Yes, that Henry Winkler.

The Office (Saturday afternoon, Comedy Central)

I watched some classic episodes from season 5.  Dwight and Michael conducted corporate espionage against Prince Family Paper.  Pam and Michael hit the lecture circuit.  Stanley had a heart attack.  Michael’s golden ticket promotion blew up in his face.  I always say that this show started to go downhill after the third season but Season 5 was actually pretty good.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

This week’s episode was actually kind of charming, as it featured Granville dancing in the rain while holding a mop.  For a second, it seemed like Granville might be something other than incredibly depressed. It didn’t last long but it was still good to see him vaguely smile.  Of course, once the rain stopped, it was time to go back to plotting Arkwright’s death.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I watched two episodes on Sunday morning.  The first one featured Zack launching a hostile takeover of the student store and then secretly photographing all of the girls for a calendar.  That was kind of icky but at least Kelly got a modeling career out of it.  She even went to Paris, something that was never mentioned in subsequent episodes.  This was followed by the infamous Running Zack episode, in which Zack learned he was Native American and Jessie demanded that Lisa forgive her for being from a family of slave traders.  The important thing is that Zack was able to compete at the track meet.  So cringey!

Silk Stalkings (Weekday Afternoons, ZLiving)

Agck!  Where are Chris and Rita!?  It’s been over a month since I last caught any episodes of this 90s cop show.  I watched two episodes on Friday and Rob Estes and Mitzi Kapture were gone!  Apparently, they left the show and were replaced by two other cops who had the exact same backstory as Chris and Rita.  What a coincidence!  Anyway, the show still featured the same mix of murder, sex, and attractive people getting undressed but these new detectives just didn’t have the same chemistry.

That said, both of Friday’s episodes were enjoyably sordid, featuring a lot of sem-clad, attractive rich people doing a lot of very bad things.  It was fun!  I may have to start binging this show.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

This week’s episode was a bit by-the-numbers.  Even Chris Hardwick seemed to be struggling to pretend to be interested in either Fear the Walking Dead or Walking Dead: World Beyond, which was odd since both of those shows were fairly good this week.

Walking Dead: The World Beyond (Sunday Night, AMC)

This week’s episode was actually pretty good.  It still feels like Christopher Pike’s The Walking Dead (or maybe Saved By The Dead) but this week’s episode actually did a good job of capturing the contrast between wanting to be a teenager while, at the same time, having to survive in a world that leaves you with little time to actually grow up.

BlizzCon 2011: Mists of Pandaria Overview Part 2


I left off yesterday having discussed Blizzard’s initial overview of the Pandaria zone, the race of Pandaren, and the new Monk class. As with any expansion, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria will feature much more than simply new quest and raiding content, however. Here is a look at some of the major additions and changes:

Talents 2.0

First of all, the talent system is getting a major overhaul, far beyond the changes it received in past expansions. There will now be only six talent points. That’s it. Blizzard made a big to do about Cataclysm’s failure to revamp talent builds, resulting in only 1-5 realistic choices out of 41 (the rest being pretty much mandatory for any given spec.) The idea in MoP will be to do away with every mandatory talent and instead create a system which should cater to a variety of playing styles without drastically influencing your dps. Or as I understand it, if you use them correctly every possible talent combination should peak for about the same overall benefit.

If that seems like high expectations, note that there will only be six talent points per class, not per spec. Your options will be the same whether you’re healing, tanking, dpsing, pvping, or whatever. Here’s a look at the tentative paladin talent screen:

If you are hoping to load up on all of the healing talents, think again. Your six points are not to be spent as you please, but can only be used once per row. If you get Blessed Life, Sacred Shield and Ardent Defender are gone, no getting around it. Don’t expect to waste thousands of gold checking them all out though. Talents will now function like glyphs, and rather than having to start from scratch you will be able to reset any particular row at any point in time outside of combat. Blizzard suggested this would be necessary for raiding, certain talents being more beneficial for certain bosses, so expect opportunities to put them all to a bit of use. As for those “ability” talents necessary for your spec, they will now just be given outright like other abilities.

Scenarios

Scenarios seem to me the most dubious of the new additions. They will be very short queuable events designed to replace the group quests of old, and they will not have any specific role requirements, so queues will be instant. They will be available at various levels, each should have a level 90 version rewarding a few valor points, and you will be able to queue for them while in dungeon queue. So far so good–it sounds like a pretty nice way to collect extra valor while waiting for those tedious 40 minute queues to pop. Here is a basic example of what the objectives of a Scenario might look like:

But aside from the fact that something that short could get really old really fast, here is the major drawback: Blizzard described a number of them as “pve battlegrounds.” What does this mean? Well, WoW Game Director Tom Chilton was fairly explicit in talking about them as battleground for people afraid to pvp. Does that mean they’ll reward honor? Does that mean the more sheepish players who don’t know what they’re doing–the ones I love graveyard camping oh so very much–will be able to get geared through these? Or even if they don’t, will this actually succeed in keeping bad players out of real battlegrounds? That, to me at least, would be a terrible disappointment.

But it gets worse. I first started to think Blizzard hated pvp servers when they updated village guards to prevent camping. My glorious days of sitting outside Grom’gol Base Camp picking off lowbie horde like flies are dead and gone; may they rest in peace. Scenarios seem to be further pushing towards refusing to reward dedicated pvpers for getting gear. The biggest catch though, really the biggest disappointment in all of Mists of Pandaria, I might as well throw at you now:

Resilience will be a base stat.

No, really. If you stand outside of your enemy faction’s city naked, you will have resilience. Oh, there will still be pvp gear, giving you more resilience, but I’m going to propose right now it will be useless. Right now going up against a raider in world pvp, my 4500 resilience means I win. And it should, because I joined a pvp server to pvp, and the guy I am fighting apparently didn’t. Narrow the gap to say, a 1000 resilience difference, and do you really think my measly Ruthless set is going to hold up against a full Firelands-equipped player?

As a hunter, I am well familiar with the lack of balance in WoW pvp. I win 1 on 1 because I am geared to the hilt. You take that away from me, and I’m just a fish out of water, dying to anyone who actively plays the game whether they care about pvp or not. Part of the idea is to make it so that players can jump into arena sooner–to prevent a block from progression. But isn’t honor already dirt cheap? Doesn’t it only take what, a week, to get fully geared for arena? Maybe it makes no difference, if you play on a pve server, but for me all this is doing is ruining world pvp–my favorite aspect of the game. Low blow Blizzard.

People have been complaining about how it’s too easy to get geared for raiding for ages now. I guess the idea with Scenarios and an overwhelming nerf to resilience is to give us pvpers something to gripe about too. Anyway, enough of that, let’s look at a more positive addition:

World of Pokemon

Lord only knows what has compelled me to so desperately seek out that 150 vanity pet achievement (I’m sitting around 135 at the moment), because I don’t even like the damn things. But it’s all going to pay off now in an addition sure to be both cheesy and addicting: vanity pet arena (I believe Pet Battle System is the official working title). You will now be able to level your pets (up to 25), form teams of between 1 and I believe 3 pets, and square off in turn-based battles both against other collectors and against new world pets that you can catch and add to your collection by defeating.

It’s looking to be a pretty complex process. You can visit trainers all over Azeroth to learn new abilities for your pets, you can trade them, you can auction them at high level, and they will be shared across your account. Imagine a pimped out White Kitten selling for 20k. I will be that man robbing you.

Without going into too much detail, pet stats will be randomly generated, so you might have to catch one multiple times to get the build you want. Pets will be seasonal, so certain ones might only appear in the summer or winter, and some will only appear in the day, at night, in the rain, in the night in rain in September, you get the idea. It’s going to be a whole game within a game, and it might sound silly right now, but I suspect this will soon stand alongside raiding and pvp as a third way to play World of Warcraft.

Other Features

* Dungeons will have a third form: “Challenge Mode”. They will consist of time trial runs in scaled-down gear, so they will never get easier as you gear up. There will be Bronze, Silver, and Gold times to beat, with different gear rewards (including statsless transmogrification sets) depending on your time. There will also be an in-game stats keeper showing your best time for each dungeon compared to other players on your server. I’m not sure how to take this. I play on one of the lowest population servers in Warcraft; we are pvp, and everyone knows everyone, so the competition to be on top is personal. I could see myself getting a bit obsessed over this one.

* Raids will also have a third form: Raid Finder. Breathe a sigh of relief; DF Raiding will be a tier below regular raiding. You won’t be able to just pug your way into a cross-server 25 man heroic run. It’s more a means to learn the mechanics while getting geared for normal raids, and I’m pretty excited about it. On servers like mine where low population means frequently bringing along one to two inexperienced players for progression attempts, there will be no more excuses. If you haven’t downed the boss through Dungeon Finder 10-man, you aren’t coming. I like it.

* There will be 9 new dungeons: six completely new ones, a heroic version of Scholomance, and a heroic version of Scarlet Monastery condensed into two dungeons. There will be three launch-ready raids, similar to Cataclysm.

* Blizzard failed miserably in Cataclysm by creating a lot of compelling world raid bosses and giving none of them any gear worth a damn. MoP is supposed to reintroduce world raiding proper. You can look for me ganking your healer half way through the fight.

* Expect 2-3 new battlegrounds, tentatively titled Stranglethorn Diamond Mines, Valley of Power, and Azshara Crater. If Twin Peaks and Battle for Gilneas were my two biggest disappointments in Cataclysm, these look to compensate thoroughly. Stranglethorn Diamond Mines is going to consist of transporting resources out of a mine down a whole mess of different passageways–the first team to successfully transfer the required amount wins. That means a lot of hiding, sneaking around, scouting ahead, and outsmarting rather than overpowering. It seems perhaps too complex to be 10 on 10, but I’m going to be disappointed if it isn’t, because it sounds perfect for rateds. Valley of Power is much more simplistic–a small square room with few opportunities to evade combat. Yet Blizzard managed to make it refreshingly unique. There will be an orb in the center of the room which any one player can hold, and so long as a faction is holding it they gain points, scaled to go up faster the closer you are to the center of the map (and thus to your enemies). But I don’t expect this to be a 2 minute fight followed by a 10 minute wait like Battle for Gilneas. There is an additional mechanic: whoever holds the orb will take periodic damage increasing over time. If there are no healers, it will eventually drop even if your team never touches the carrier. As for the third proposed battleground, Azshara Crater, Blizzard has said nothing.

* There will be a new arena: Tol’vir Proving Grounds. It looks identical to Nagrand Arena except the four pillars are diamonds rather than squares. Really? For as long as we’ve been waiting, it looks downright pathetic.

* There will be valor from daily quests. Thank god. Daily quests will also give you buffs that allow you to gain extra loot in dungeons. I’m not quite sure what to make of that.

* Many achievements will be account bound. They did not go into too many specifics on this, but I’m pretty damn excited. Achievements are my gig in WoW, even more so than pvp. I’m pushing 11,000 without hardly any from raids, and if this means I can roll a level 29 twink hunter and knock out all of the more insane pvp ones I’m going to be in the money. Not all achievements will be account bound however, and whether that means obvious ones like say, the level 90 achievement, won’t be, or if not all raid/pvp accomplishments will be either, is still up in the air. There will also be multi-toon achievements, like maxing out every profession.

* A few major class/stat changes were mentioned. The epic resilience nerf stands out as the worst, and maybe the worst idea Blizzard have for all of MoP. They will also be doing away with the range weapon slot. Relics will be gone, rogues and warriors will throw their main hand, and hunter bows/guns will become the main hand. Wait, how will hunters survive without a melee weapon? Ah, the most relevant buff of all for me: hunter minimum range is gone. Gone! No more frost mages locking me in place and taking me down without ever so much as taking damage. Hunters will finally be a viable dueling and 2s pvp class. Warlocks will also get a major overhaul to better distinguish the three specs, and the way they described Destruction I suspect they’re going to be pretty op, with a stacking damage buff that hopefully resembles Arcane Blast. Hopefully because I have an idle 85 warlock, that is. Shamans will no longer have buff totems, and lastly, druids will finally be recognized as officially having four specs.

There was one major question left in my mind when all was said and done. I play on one server exclusively. There are ten classes and ten toon slots, so I am full. As it stands, I will never actually get to play a monk. Will that change? Will they finally add an eleventh slot? WoW lead producer J. Allen Brack was asked this in the post-presentation interview, and his answer wasn’t promising: They’ve thought about it, but they’re not quite sure.